House Rejects Stand Alone Aid Bill for Israel

House Rejects Stand Alone Aid Bill for Israel

( – The US House of Representatives blocked expedited passage of a standalone aid bill for Israel on February 6, due to bipartisan opposition to the legislation. House lawmakers attempted to pass the $17.6 billion emergency aid bill under suspension of the rules, which requires two-thirds support but failed in a vote of 250-180.

The House of Representatives took up the standalone Israel aid bill amid efforts in the Senate to pass a supplemental funding bill with Ukraine aid, immigration reforms, and national security measures as well. House Speaker Mike Johnson said that the Senate legislation would be dead on arrival in the lower chamber.

US President Joe Biden issued a veto threat to the standalone Israel aid bill, instead favoring the Senate legislation, which emerged after months of negotiations. The Biden administration initially requested supplemental funding from Congress in October, following Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack on Israel.

More than a dozen House Republicans split from the majority of their party and joined Democrats in opposing the standalone Israel aid bill. US Congressman Thomas Massie argued that the bill would increase the US deficit without offsets, whereas Israel has a lower debt-to-GDP ratio than the United States. Much of the funding would flow to the US military-industrial complex, Massie added.

A group of 46 House Democrats also diverged from the majority of their party colleagues and voted in favor of the Israel aid bill. One senior lawmaker reportedly said that many members were very conflicted about the decision.

Some House Democrats backed the bill out of a “natural instinct” to support Israel, the senior lawmaker said. Other members were concerned that the bill was a deliberate Republican trap to make Democrats vote against Israel aid, according to the senior lawmaker.

Efforts to give aid to Israel and Ukraine appear stalled in both chambers of Congress, largely due to disagreements over the inclusion of border security measures in the legislation. For the time being, Israel will have to manage its own border security without additional aid from the United States, which is busy trying to defend its own borders.

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